Tag Archives: betfair

Australian greyhounds and other activities

As mentioned in a previous post, an Oscar clone has been let out of the traps (ha ha, out of the traps – greyhounds, traps, letting out of the… yeah, yeah) and has been trading the Australian greyhounds for the past week. The liquidity is generally lower on these markets, especially for the earlier races but some of the later races are ok. With settings almost identical to those for the UK, only 27 races saw any trading with a total 115 bets settled. Profit of 27 pence (coincidentally) and £270.69 traded, giving a P&L/TV of 0.1%, which is not an unusual figure for Oscar. I’ll let it run for now to see what results come in.

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Other activities

I know many of you will have it on your mind but for those that are new here – back in October I did a post on stakes ending with me wondering what to do with any profits. I gave four possibilities, as I saw it –

  1. Leave it where it is, doing nothing.
  2. Create a second Betfair account, for other/future bots or split activities.
  3. Remove from Betfair, put it in savings to be returned to Betfair when required.
  4. Remove from Betfair, spend it (I doubt this will happen).

Option 2 is not an option. I thought option 3 would be the one to go with but the wife suggested (after pointing out that there wasn’t vast amounts to play with ” and after all that time you spend on the computer“) that I should buy something – option 4 – which was MY LEAST favoured option. So after thinking it over and realising that she was right, because that’s how it is, I decided to part company with my faithful 20+ year old mountain bike (Claud Butler frame swapped for a scrap ’85 Ford Escort, crank and gears from a previous GT, all other parts swapped/added separately pre 2000, except tyres) and purchase a brand spanking shiny new modern lighter full suspension ally framed disk braked, mountain bike. I’ve been using it regularly for the past few months to try (really try) to improve my fitness. This is most certainly a work in progress.

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Old
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New (when it was new)

(p.s. I still have the old bike, just can’t bring myself to drop it at the tip after all these years)

 

April ’17, with charts. And some charts for March.

Charts are back. First up are the charts for the period 13th to 31st March. The figures won’t match with the March post for obvious reasons but will follow on from the last P&L charts.

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On to April. The dogs had an ok month overall but the profit mainly came in the first half and then not much after. No changes were made so not sure why it happened. Maybe the strategy is losing its edge.

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The Aus horses have not done well. I stopped trading on the 29th with a view to resetting some limits. It took me 5 days to actually sit down and do something. Minor changes made to the limits and the stake was reduced by 75%ish. Up to yesterday not much has improved.

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I haven’t done as much programming as I’d like recently but the garden is coming on and I’ve done a few guvvy jobs to help pay for it, so not much spare time. I’ve had a few comments on here and Twitter about speed which I will put into a separate post when I get time. The latest one from n00bmind was detailed and worth a read itself.

In the meantime I’ve added an Oscar clone to the VPS to have a go at Aus dogs. No idea what liquidity is like but we will see.

March ’17

Results

In a change to previous reporting I am moving from week/weeks to monthly stats. And no charts. Here are the results from March, beginning to end –

UK Dogs  Initial slow start to the month but then went on to a steady return. Overall good result with no changes to be made.

Markets = 1595
Bets = 10409
Volume =  £51949.79
Profit =  £59.65
Return =  0.115%

AUS Horses  The first half of the month saw profitable trading but the second half was all over the place with regular enough runs followed by sharp drops, streaks of losing markets, with no further profit added (this has been the same for the start of April). If this continues I will pause Aus trading.

Markets = 821
Bets = 6606
Volume = £62277.75
Profit = £26.55
Return = 0.043%

Comment
Steve commented –

The API crashing should have very little effect on a bots overall profitability other than the fact you’re missing out on opportunities when the site’s offline.

In a way, I agree. If I have an open position when the crash happens, I will either win or lose an unusually large amount for me. If this happens regularly, then, so long as I have enough cash in the bank, these wins and losses should roughly balance out. (This is stretching the view of chance and puts a lot of hope on a balance being seen across a relatively low number of events. I’d rather not rely on this to cover the effect of crashes.) Steve continues –

Every bet you place with a bot should be sent because you believe it to be value at that time and it should be allowed to stand on it’s own merits.

I think at this point Steve has missed my approach to the markets. With regards to the outcome of the event, I have no idea if my entry point is at “value”. This is because I have no interest or care of the event. It matters nothing to me if it’s dogs, horses, pigeons, camels, Pooh sticks or bottled messages that are racing. I am trading on the market movement, not the event. I believe my entry point has a statistical positive value if I can exit shortly after. Therefore, I never want a bet to stand “on it’s own merits” because it doesn’t have any merits (on it’s own). Look at it like this – I think the price is shortening and assume that there are willing backers and layers in the market. I effectively jump in between a backer and a layer, giving them both slightly poorer odds than they could have got and skimming a little bit for myself. That’s how I see it. Steve goes on –

I can understand the mentality of wanting a green book at the off but trading will always be easier to do manually rather than having some set time or ticks to balance your bets.

I disagree. Steve finishes with –

There’s a lot of easy money to be made botting don’t go wasting your time trying to tick for pennies.

In short – “trading will always be easier to do manually” even though “There’s a lot of easy money to be made botting“. With that logic any mouse clicking screen watcher should be raking it in. This I doubt. And the idea of  any easy money left on the exchange is one I don’t believe. But if you have found it, screw it for every last penny and don’t tell anyone.
 

Weeks ending 12-03-17

Well nobody spotted last weeks howler – I only titled it “Weeks ending 06-03-17”. I guess you did see it but found more amusement in keeping quiet. You are fun.

algotradingforfun added this comment-

Great 2nd week there. Need to think about handling the bf crash scenario when in autopilot. I don’t think it would be a disaster if not about but does create some extra risk.

Thanks. For me the crashes can be a bit annoying. Oscar backs first so the greatest loss is the stake, assuming a clean cut crash. If you’re laying first the exposed risk between entry and exit is far greater, add multi-runner trading and that increases, something to consider when setting up a bot.

 

Mike also commented-

The regular Betfair crash is a royal pain. Your take of their response is amusing and spot on. There is an API status page (not widely publicized) which is a little more real time than the “help” desk. Don’t know if you can link your bot to the status but might be an option. http://status.developer.betfair.com/

Thanks, again. A pain, agreed. I saw this status link on Twitter for the first time after this last crash and it does provide some confirmation but did seem a bit delayed. After I’d first seen the tweets I looked at the status and only one request was showing problems (/listmarketcatalogue maybe?) so trial and error would see if it could provide any bot use. But it was certainly ahead of the Saturday boy and his well thumbed guide.

 

One week on these charts. Interesting profile on the dogs, start flat, end flat, with sharp rise Friday/Saturday. All figures are in line with previous period which is good.

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Another milestone was passed with these results, I became eligible to pay premium charge as my lifetime percentage dropped just below 20 to 19.92%. I’d already used some of my allowance which I think was linked to data charges that are no longer used. So this week saw £1.98 taken off my allowance; at that rate it’ll be 9 years before I actually pay anything. Unfortunately, if my total charges percent continues to fall, the weekly PC will rise. A drop to 19.72% would have seen a PC of £5.50. This is the price of (small) success. On a positive note this does put me in a bracket with 0.5% of customers which, if Wikipedia can be believed, is either 20,000 or 5,500 people. What joy.

Weeks ending 06-03-17

Two weeks this period, starting from 20:30 on the 19th (see last update). A good return from both the dogs and horses but the first week ended barely up. The second week was one of the most profitable I’ve had.

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Saturday 4th March saw another big Betfair crash* with the exchange offline for nearly an hour and betting disabled for some time after that. As I was at the computer when it happened, I took the opportunity to run updates on the VPS OS. I have it set up to tell me when updates are available but I choose when to install them. I’d advise any botter to do this, as the last thing you want is the computer restarting mid-trade after auto-updating. I also decided to add a bit of code to change how and when the bot saves it’s log sheet. A simple enough task as I’d already written the code for another, now retired, bot. Copy, paste, change sheet references and save location, job done, what could possibly go wrong? Not testing with live updating and thinking I know best and the bot locking up at 2am trying to repeatedly save a file that at the second attempt already exists, is what can go wrong. I’ve said it myself before now – always check, check again and test live. And check again. No harm done but missed most Aus horses on Sunday. Added to the missed Saturday dogs, the results are even better.

* All major exchange crashes seem to follow a similar pattern. Some people start reporting blips, pauses in the refresh rate. Betfair Customer Service (a questionable department title if ever there was) denies all knowledge with the stock phrase “It’s all good here”. Then comes total blackout. Many an unrepeatable turn of phrase screamed by the loyal customer base and the Betfair bods half acknowledge with the second phrase of the Betfair How to Keep Customers in Suspense Guide – “We’re looking into it”. Third line, after some threats of violence, use of very specific graphic language and calls for a mass exodus to Betdaq, is- “Apologies for this guys, our techs are on it”. Following a period of silence from the exchange masters, allowing for a build up of calls for refunds and shared stories of thousands lost, comes the market controlling monopoly confirming legal statement – “Refer to our Ts&Cs”. The first few markets after reboot are played cautiously before all but the over-exposed carry on as usual, allowing said monopoly off the recently polished hook.

Weeks ending 19-02-17 (8:30pm)

As previously mentioned I’ve been using my time to code my own trading bot, so this catch-up covers seven weeks by my reckoning. On the dogs the return has been ok at 0.055%. I’m still running on stakes that are not linked to balance but vary within a small  amount. All the dog’s weeks ended positive, just.

170219

The Aus horses performed better for the period, at 0.084%, but as can be seen from the chart, there was a negative run. This stretched over approximately 10 days. Combined with a low profit for a week from the dogs, this saw the first overall weekly loss for quite some time, ending -£2.62. It does have an emotional impact, even though a small loss, after such a long time seeing the bank’s increased at the end of each Sunday. I did feel like I wanted to change something in the code but I held tight and the P&L returned to a more usual level. This is why I couldn’t trade manually – I’d drift away from the plan after each loss in an endless battle against the now.

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2016 – a brief history (and Week ending 01-01-17)

I’ll start with last week. Dogs were down on number of markets/bets/volume but up again on return. It’s the highest return since July.

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The Aus horses had a good week too. Although return was down slightly, -0.007, the overall trend is good. Last period saw two large losses on the dogs, this time it’s the horses turn. No worries though. Next, on to the annual review.

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Annual review

It’s been a positive year with a profit from most weeks, there were only three weeks ending in an overall loss (across all markets), with one of those due to an error. This year also saw the move to a VPS and then cloud VPS, giving a faster and more consistent connection. I’ve dabbled with my other bots but not taken them live. I tried Oscar over the pond for a while but the US horses were a loss. Slayr was an accident and started out backing, then switched to laying, then back to backing (small number bias and all that). It is still running on Betdaq, an update on that soon, but it doesn’t trade as such, just places a bet based on the prices available. My work on my own trading app stalled but this is going to be my main focus this year. I’ve got Betfair Pro Trader’s new book which is providing inspiration and ideas. I’ve also made myself a plan which I hope will prevent me getting easily distracted and bouncing between one idea and another.

High and low

This years high has to be the brilliantly consistent(ish) profits returned by Oscar. Regardless of actual amounts, the same trading algorithm has performed for the year without many code changes, most of which were not to do with triggers or execution.

The low was the crash of Thursday 26th May at approximately 20:42 which resulted in a loss of £59.40. It set my bank back by around 5 weeks. And it hurt. But, on-wards and upwards as they say.

The year in numbers

The charts I show on the blog include some amounts for the period. The figures for the period 4th January 2016 to 1st January 2017 are as follows –

Number of markets traded = 26775

Number of bets settled = 197158

Traded volume = £1039959.93

P&L = £717.25

PL/TV = 0.069%

Traded volume is probably an incorrect term as it’s taken from finance but never mind. It’s my way of measuring and is simply the total of the amounts going in and out of my account, ie money I’ve traded with other bettors.

The blog

I’ve enjoyed doing the blog. It’s useful for me to be able to look back at what I’ve been doing. I also hope it provides some sort of information/ideas/entertainment/wonder to others. My page views have gone up over the year, mainly with links from Twitter, Betfair Pro Trader and Green All Over. I seem to get views from all across the world – 60% are from the UK but I’ve had hits (according to WP stats) from the following countries Australia, Sweden, Ireland, Portugal, Denmark, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain, France, United States, Norway, Italy, Greece, Germany, Slovakia, Brazil, Slovenia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Hong Kong SAR China, New Zealand, Cyprus, Mexico, Bulgaria, Argentina, South Africa, Latvia, Finland, India, Turkey, Ukraine, Namibia, Malta, Peru, Austria, Malaysia, Serbia, Lithuania, Taiwan, Macedonia, Columbia, Canada, Croatia, Tunisia, Luxembourg, European Union (What? A country? Yes, according to wordpress), Philippines, Chile, Georgia, Belgium, Nigeria, Isle of Man, Singapore, Mauritius, Yemen, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Thailand, South Korea, Tanzania, Israel, Iceland, Azerbaijan and, last but by no means least, Zimbabwe.

The future

With a certainty that is unknown in the betting/trading/gambling world, the future is definitely coming. As for what or when I do anything, I don’t want to make any promises. I do intend to become a more proficient VB programmer and a better bot trader, in that order.

Happy New Year!